Quantum Racing clings on
With an overall lead of 41.2 points Quantum Racing (USA) appears to need only to maintain a level of consistent form to be sure of collecting the overall Audi MedCup Circuit Trophy next Saturday. But, as this final regatta takes the Circuit out into the waters of the Atlantic, that may not be such a simple, straightforward task for skipper-helm Terry Hutchinson (USA) and crew.
When warm summer temperatures give way to cooler weather, winds in September in this region become more variable, and this final test is expected to offer challenges at both ends of the wind range, light and unsettled breezes as well as the stronger airs such as Portimao provided when the MedCup Circuit visited for the first time in August 2007.
Quantum Racing’s strategy will be about preserving that lead, but below them on the Audi MedCup leader board there is still much to be settled, and tactics on the Portimao race course will vary from bold, last gasp gambles to make a final leap up the final rankings - to percentage sailing, trying not to compromise good results from the five previous Audi MedCup regattas, in Alicante in May, Marseille in June, Cagliari, Sardinia in July, Puerto Portals, Mallorca in July, and late August’s successful regatta in Cartagena, Murcia.
“We really are aware that anything can happen. These are nerve wracking times but we would not change the position we are in for anything. So we will just be doing what we have always done, we come here knowing that there is still a long way to go to win this Series and we will just keep attacking until we get there. We will be concentrating on not taking any big risks and sticking to the same game plan we have had all along, letting the boat do the work,” comments Quantum Racing’s Project Manager Ed Reynolds (USA).
With José Cusí’s Bribón (ESP) triumphing in Cartagena, Murcia last month, four different yachts from all three different design offices actively represented on the Circuit have won regattas this season.
11 different boats from the total fleet of 19 TP52s which have participated this Audi MedCup season have won individual races since May, and in the overall standing two of the top four boats are not new, but well optimised 2007 built boats.
Bribón lie second, 14.8 points ahead of the 2007 title winning skipper, Sweden’s Torbjörn Tornqvist and his Artemis team, while Alberto Roemmers’ Argentinian Matador are on a roll after placing second in the last two regattas, and are keen to topple Artemis to steal third.
Portugal, the host nation’s hopes rest with Pedro Menonça’s 2005 built Bigamist VI, which had a successful first outing of the Audi MedCup season in Murcia, steered by their Olympic Star class helm Afonso Domingos, who arrived in Spain directly from his eighth place in the Olympic regatta in Qingdao, China. Their tactician Hugo Rocha (POR) is an Algarve local who won an Olympic bronze in the 470 in 1996 in Atlanta.
“The breezes can be unstable and change a lot during this period so it will be very interesting, and, I hope good for us. If it is very regular it will be very difficult for us and we have to depend too much on what other boats do, our options are reduced,” outlines Domingos “We were good in Cartagena. I was not looking forward there to manoeuvres in the big winds, but we were generally good and only made two or three mistakes. If we can be better here we can do OK. But we are all really pleased to see the boats and the Circuit back in Portugal and in Portimao.”
The Portugal Trophy Regatta starts on Monday with the practice race before the diet of points scoring windward-leeward contests precede Thursday’s double points coastal race. Racing is due to finish Saturday with a gala dinner prize-giving Saturday night when the Audi MedCup Circuit Trophy will be presented for the first time.
Audi MedCup 2008
Standings after 45 races including Alicante, Marseille, Cagliari, Portals and Cartagena
Place, Boat Name, Nationality, total
1. Quantum Racing USA 215
2. Bribón ESP256,2
3. Artemis SWE 271
4. Matador ARG 287
5. Platoon by Team Germany GER 310
6. Mutua Madrileña ESP325,4
7. El Desafío ESP352
8. CxG Corporación Caixa Galicia ESP404,6
9. Audi Q8 ITA 451
10. Mean Machine MON 455